He was given the task of handling the top six batters in the Detroit Tigers order, including No. 1 pick Spencer Torkelson, MLB starters like Robbie Grossman and Wilson Ramos, and high-upside infielders like Willi Castro.
Not the Yankees’ heart of the order, per se, but not a cakewalk, especially with so much pressure pushing down on his now-concave shoulders.
Stunningly, what we saw looked like German had never left.
With many Yankees eyes fixated upon him without truly knowing what they were rooting for, the righty opened his dominant outing with a near-effortless three-pitch strikeout.
These pitches were dotted from curtain up.
Domingo German looked amazing in his Yankees debut for 2021.
We truly didn’t expect to be reckoning with German looking regular-season ready from Day 1, especially with his offseason Winter League inconsistency well-documented.
On top of … you know, the suspension-worthy actions that have left many of his current teammates feeling let down and shaken.
German looked like a clear-cut rotation option Friday, surrendering only one hit (a double smoked to third, which bounded off Miguel Andújar and caromed into the stands). After allowing that leadoff double, he struck out the extremely poised Torkelson looking, commanding the zone with both his change and curveball, touching 94 with the heater.
Color us impressed.
Cynically, we’ve stated all along that the reason German was getting such a public second chance was the fact that his stuff will play in MLB … somewhere. The Yankees, in need of rotation and bullpen depth, had no interest in giving him away for nothing, knowing full well another team would soon employ him and look the other way.
German looked even better on Friday than we’d ever anticipated in our wildest dreams, and the competition for the fifth starter spot has been fully engaged. If the slender righty can command the zone like that already, there’s a clear path for him.